3 August 2014

Boyhood



Before I forget, I mustn't neglect to mention that last Monday I went into the city centre to see a screening of "Boyhood" at The Showroom. You may have heard of this film. It was the brainchild of esteemed writer and director Richard Linklater and it was shot over a period of several years from the summer of 2002 to the autumn of 2013. Linklater wanted to tell the story of a boy growing up and at its heart is the actor Ellar Coltrane who was seven years old when the filming started and eighteen when it ceased.

Originally, the film was going to be called "12 Years" but a re-think on this occurred when "!2 Years A Slave" took the movie world by storm last year.

I don't know about you but I get fed up of outlandish fantasy and  films that contain killings or masterful detective work to solve a range of crimes. I want to see films that speak of real life and for most of us real life has nothing to do with murder or cops and that kind of cartoon drama. In my view, it is much more challenging to weave a drama that somehow mirrors people's experience of everyday life. Such a film is "Boyhood".

In a sense, not much happens in it. The central character Mason grows older - as do his birth parents played by Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke. They all have moods, they make mistakes, they get on with their unexceptional lives - somewhere in the deep heart of Texas. There's a gentleness and affection  in the director's humane observation of these ordinary people. They are inevitably moving on because none of us can halt the march of time and at the end of the film we see Mason driving off to college and presumably his adult life with all of its potential and its pitfalls.

It's a very long film - two hours and forty five minutes running time. Afterwards, after a swift pint in "The Lord Nelson", I walked home along Ecclesall Road and by midnight there was very little traffic around so I did something I have never done before - walked right across the normally busy roundabout at Hunter's Bar. I have driven round that traffic island a million times but this was the first time I had walked upon that grassy oasis or touched one of the massive stone gateposts that were once adjacent to an eighteenth century tollhouse, long before the road network in England was nationalised.

"Boyhood" - a great film if, like me, you prefer believable tales of real life.

15 comments:

  1. this sounds a bit intillectuall for me. I have often wanted to stop and examine the old Toll Gate,

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    1. Those toll gate posts are massive Adrian. It must have been a hell of a mission to transport them on cart tracks - probably from Stanage Edge or thereabouts.

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    2. Millstone Edge a geologist I used to climb with told me they were. I can't tell the difference but it has something to do with grain size and silica content.

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  2. I've heard about the film before and it is on my (very short) list of films I want to see. Thank you for the review!
    Isn't it fascinating when you are able to access places that are usually inaccessible? I have the same feeling when I run Ludwigsburg's City Run. The main roads in the centre are closed for traffic, only runners are allowed on that day, and it feels somehow great running on those roads; like making the city truly "mine", if that makes sense.

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    1. It does make sense. Often, if I have been to the local pub I will walk up the middle of our street to get back home - just like Bob Dylan on the front cover of "The Freewheelin Bob Dylan".

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  3. It's perhaps a good job that we all have different tastes. I abhor violence in films as a rule but I want my entertainment to be removed from the 'real' world which I have to watch and live in every day. That doesn't stop me watching serious films but I don't watch them for relaxation.

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    1. When I see a film I want to lose myself in it - forget I am sitting in a cinema so that when the film ends I look at my watch and I am startled that the time has gone. When that happens - which is quite rare - I know I have seen a damned good film. In my view tales of reality can be far more poignant, far more funny or far more gripping than violent films or films that tell tales that are far removed from everyday life.

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  4. Oh I do so miss the SHOWROOM
    I spent many happy hours there

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  5. Ps where's your vegatable

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    1. John - Yesterday I dug up a potato that had a nobbly appendage but it was too near the top of its head - I wanted it to be a nose. How about a stonking courgette with a couple of plums?

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  6. We have a series of docos here that are called Five, Seven, Nine etc that chart the progress of a handful of children as they grow up.

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  7. Hi YP, talking about Sheffield, there's a possibility that we may well be in the city centre one day (very) soon - if you fancy meeting us for a coffee/tea, send me a mail and we can check our agendas "in private"! I'll risk putting my email address here and hope your readers don't start spamming me the moment I hit "publish"...
    briansilvia@hotmail.com

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  8. I enjoyed Boyhood too - shown here in the Melbourne Film Festival. I never felt I was watching a documentary and yet it felt more real than most feels. And a fascinating slice of life in that part of the US! I love the documentaries Life at 1,3,5,7,9 (and of course Apted's 7Up series) too. Jean

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  9. That was 'most films' - bother autocorrect!

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